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Author Topic: Celtic Underworld Myths??  (Read 5958 times)

lys810

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Celtic Underworld Myths??
« on: January 15, 2015, 10:28:18 am »
Other cultures have them, are there any that are specific to Celtic mythology?

I'm thinking of the Persephone myth from Greece, the Inanna myth from Sumer, etc. Where someone journeys to the Underworld for some purpose, and then returns...

SunflowerP

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Re: Celtic Underworld Myths??
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2015, 10:46:20 pm »
Quote from: lys810;169358
Other cultures have them, are there any that are specific to Celtic mythology?

I'm thinking of the Persephone myth from Greece, the Inanna myth from Sumer, etc. Where someone journeys to the Underworld for some purpose, and then returns...

 
Many, though it's not always an underworld.

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Gaudior

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Re: Celtic Underworld Myths??
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2015, 01:05:53 pm »
Quote from: lys810;169358
Other cultures have them, are there any that are specific to Celtic mythology?

I'm thinking of the Persephone myth from Greece, the Inanna myth from Sumer, etc. Where someone journeys to the Underworld for some purpose, and then returns...

 

Hey there,

One I thought of right away was The Voyage of Bran where Bran travels to Tir Na Nog.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/vob/
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Cabal

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Re: Celtic Underworld Myths??
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2015, 04:53:24 pm »
Quote from: lys810;169358
Other cultures have them, are there any that are specific to Celtic mythology?

I'm thinking of the Persephone myth from Greece, the Inanna myth from Sumer, etc. Where someone journeys to the Underworld for some purpose, and then returns...
In Welsh Mythology the story of  Pwyll & Arawn is one story I know of. In the First Branch of the Mabinogi, Pwyll mistakenly stumbles into the realm of Annwn and finds white hounds with red ears feeding on a stag. Pwyll chases the hounds off, only to learn that the hounds belonged to Arawn, ruler of Annwn. To pay for the misdeed, Arawn asks Pwyll to trade places with him for a year and a day and defeat Hafgan, Arawn's rival, at the end of this time, something Arawn has attempted but has been unable to do. Arawn, meanwhile, takes Pwyll's place as lord of Dyfed. Arawn and Pwyll become good friends because when Pwyll wore Arawn's shape, he slept chastely with Arawn's wife.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 04:54:24 pm by Cabal »
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bedewed-niskai

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Re: Celtic Underworld Myths??
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2018, 01:31:35 am »
Other cultures have them, are there any that are specific to Celtic mythology?

I'm thinking of the Persephone myth from Greece, the Inanna myth from Sumer, etc. Where someone journeys to the Underworld for some purpose, and then returns...
It is said that the Gauls were created by the Underworld God Dis Pater and were his children. Ancient writers specifically refer to it as underworld. In later Celtic cultures though, they prefer to call it the Otherworld, without the "under" chthonic association in the same way. Rather, this Godly, holy place is like a mirror of our own but more ideal than our world.

SunflowerP

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Re: Celtic Underworld Myths??
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2018, 04:52:53 pm »
It is said that the Gauls were created by the Underworld God Dis Pater and were his children. Ancient writers specifically refer to it as underworld. In later Celtic cultures though, they prefer to call it the Otherworld, without the "under" chthonic association in the same way. Rather, this Godly, holy place is like a mirror of our own but more ideal than our world.

Since the ancient writers in question were likely Roman, their referring to it specifically as 'underworld' could well be because of the Roman perspective on under/otherworlds, in much the same way that attributing this to Dis Pater is a Romanization.

From the Wikipedia article on Dis Pater: 'It is often thought that Dīs Pater was also a Celtic god. This confusion arises from the second-hand citation of one of Julius Caesar's comments in his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars (VI:18), where he says that the Gauls all claimed descent from Dīs Pater. However, Caesar's remark is a clear example of interpretatio Romana: what Caesar meant was that the Gauls all claimed descent from a Gaulish god that reminded him of the Roman Dīs Pater, a scholia on the Pharsalia equates Dis Pater with Taranis, the chief sky deity in the Gaulish religion. Different possible candidates exist for this role in Celtic religion, such as Gaulish Sucellus, Irish Donn and Welsh Beli Mawr, among others.'

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Failivrin

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Re: Celtic Underworld Myths??
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2019, 04:39:55 pm »
Ancient writers specifically refer to it as underworld. In later Celtic cultures though, they prefer to call it the Otherworld, without the "under" chthonic association in the same way.
As shown above, Celtic mythologies have multiple Otherworlds, some of which appear to be "under," some "over," and others simply "beyond." To me, the concept of a Celtic underworld evokes the legends about hollow hills. Many of these pertain to later folklore more than ancient mythology. The main types are stories of people seduced or abducted by fairies and taken to magical halls inside hills. There are also a number of ghost stories about the dead coming alive in tombs under the hills. These stories are particularly common in Ireland, which has both ancient burial tombs and prehistoric ceremonial sites cut into the hillsides. Some, like Newgrange and Dowth, are older than the pyramids, and they are believed to have been built by a fairy race called the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Zlote Jablko

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Re: Celtic Underworld Myths??
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2019, 04:08:40 am »
As shown above, Celtic mythologies have multiple Otherworlds, some of which appear to be "under," some "over," and others simply "beyond." To me, the concept of a Celtic underworld evokes the legends about hollow hills. Many of these pertain to later folklore more than ancient mythology. The main types are stories of people seduced or abducted by fairies and taken to magical halls inside hills. There are also a number of ghost stories about the dead coming alive in tombs under the hills. These stories are particularly common in Ireland, which has both ancient burial tombs and prehistoric ceremonial sites cut into the hillsides. Some, like Newgrange and Dowth, are older than the pyramids, and they are believed to have been built by a fairy race called the Tuatha Dé Danann.

This vagueness is pretty common in Europe. There are a number of ways of addressing the location of the other world in cultures that leave it ambiguous.

I know in Celtic myth, you have a blessed isle across the sea, called Tir Na Nog or Emain Ablach in some stories. In some cases, the dead are very clearly associated with the Earth. The Greeks had a similar division, except the Elysian fields were reserved for heroes.

Here’s my take; In Russian folklore, you have the magical island of  Buyan. In one narrative, a dripping oak stands on the isle and beneath it is the serpent Garafena, reminiscent of the underworld dragon Nidhoggr in Norse mythology. If you interpret this cosmologically, then the blessed isle is the place where the world tree trunk or axis Mundi intersects with our world. This is not very different from the Finnish Pohjola, a place both “north” and yet related to the underworld, (Pohja means “bottom.) Presumably because it is in the direction of the axis that the Earth turns upon and therefore at the “base” of the central pole, tree, or pillar. In the ancient way of thinking, the underworld could be associated with a cardinal direction while still being associated with “the deep.”

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